OTTAWA — Canada’s new car dealers say they expect 2010 to be a rebuilding year for sales after last year’s crash.
The Canadian Automobile Dealers Association says first- quarter sales have been strong, up 15 per cent over the same period last year.
For the full year, they expect an improvement of five or six per cent over last year’s recessionary level. That would mean about 1.55 million new vehicle sales, still well below 2008’s record 1.65 million.
Despite higher prices for new vehicles lately, the dealers’ chief economist, Michael Hatch, says buying conditions are optimal.
Interest rates remain at record low levels and the cost of an average new vehicle amounted to 18 weeks of family income, the lowest in more than 20 years.
Hatch added that a lot depends on the return to the new car market this year by Canadians who may have held on to their old vehicles last year because of uncertainty caused by the recession.
Still, it will likely take several years more before sales return to the pre-recession peak, Hatch said.